30th April 2013
Touch the Earth – VS 4b – Lead
The first evening session of 2013 saw us explore a new buttress at Carn Gowla. Indian Buttress is the furthest south of the major Gowla venues, but offers some great climbing.
Finding your bearings is a touch difficult though as we discovered. We abbed in down the obvious V groove in the west face but the descriptions in the guide are not easy to follow. It refers to a sea level ledge but to be fair the main ledge is well above sea level.
Still once we did establish things the climbs proved worthwhile (at least for me as I am a Gowla apologist unlike my compadre’s). I find the climbing here enthralling. Yes the rock can be suspect (like biscuit or razorblades depending what bit your on) and the pro barely adequate at times; it’s sharp, forbidding and exposed and belays are a nightmare; most climbs involve abbing in and the sea slamming into the cliffs offers a further dimension. For me this adds up to excitement and of all the venues we climb at, Gowla is the most adventurous. Clearly my colleagues dont see it that way as the evening was punctuated with curses and threats to never return.
Touch the Earth is deceptive. From below it is innocuous, but once you step out onto the face it brims with exposure and the holds are positive and solid. The finale is a steep slab where pro becomes less obvious but holds get better. Not sure it is VS; the lack of pro in the upper section may be why this grade is proposed, but Joeand I agreed it is well worth the two stars it gets in the guide.
Meanwhile Chris led Red Cloud a severe following an obvious crack to the right of the decent slab. This looked ood but I was advised is very sharp. Tom managed to break a few foot placements so maybe the grade will get harder the more it is climbed. I intend to try this one the next time out.
I now have my eye on some routes on the Sewerage Wall area, but it looks like I may have to rely on Pete for company on my next visit unless I want a mutiny.